- Experts decode ‘wagal dance’ performed by bees in hive
- They show that bees in rural areas travel 50% more for food than their urban friends
- Bees use ‘waggle dance’ to position flowers
- The study looked at 2,800 waggles from 20 colonies in London and Home counties
It’s well known that bees pull off some nifty dance moves when they want to communicate with each other.
But scientists have now decoded these ‘waggles’ – a sort of manipulation that bees use to tell the rest of their colony where they will find nectar – and found that the numbers of their urban friends living in the countryside In comparison, 50 percent more travel for food.
Waggle dance is used to communicate the location of flowers. When a bee finds a good patch, it returns to the hive and performs eight movements on the hive to tell others where to find food.
Other bees observing the dance know how far to fly based on the duration of the central part of the dance, while the angle tells them which direction to go.
Scientists decode the ‘waggle dance’ performed by bees – a sort of manipulation they perform to tell the rest of their colony where to find nectar (stock image)
Researchers found that people in rural areas travel 50 percent more for food than their urban friends
How do bees make queens?
Bees create a queen by behaving in a unique way with a normal child, causing her to grow into a queen rather than a worker.
They form a special, large cell, and fill it with a substance called ‘royal jelly’.
It is a combination of water, sugar and protein that appears milky in colour, secreted from glands in the heads of worker bees.
A baby is then taken out of his cell and placed in a unique cell with royal jelly, which he consumes.
It is also deprived of pollen and honey to aid its development, which is fed to normal workers.
The study looked at more than 2,800 waggle dances from 20 honeybee colonies in London and the surrounding countryside.
Researchers from Royal Holloway University and Virginia Tech calculated that the average forage distance for bees in urban areas was 1,614 feet (492 m), compared to 2,437 feet (743 m) for bees in agricultural areas.
They also found no significant differences in the amount of sugar collected by urban and rural bees, indicating that longer distance distances in rural areas were not driven by distant, nectar-rich resources.
Instead, urban areas consistently provided more food for the bees, thanks to the work of city gardeners.
Study author Professor Eli Leadbeater from Royal Holloway University said: ‘Our findings support the idea that cities are hotspots for social bees, with gardens providing diverse, plentiful and reliable forage resources.
‘In agricultural areas, it is difficult for bees to find food, so they have to go further before they can find enough to bring them back to the hive.’
The researchers caution that since urban areas make up a small percentage of total land cover, they are unlikely to be sufficient to support bee populations in a landscape dominated by intensive agriculture.
Professor Leadbeater said: ‘Conservation efforts should be directed at increasing the amount of non-crop flowers in agricultural areas, such as wildflower strips.
‘This will increase the sustainability of available forage in the climate and landscape as well as reduce the dependence of bees on a small number of seasonal flower crops.’
The study recorded 10 dances between April and September in 2017 at 10 sites in central London and agricultural areas of the home county.
The study looked at more than 2,800 waggle dances from 20 honeybee colonies in London and the surrounding countryside (stock image)
The study recorded 10 dances between April and September in 2017 at 10 sites in central London and in agricultural areas of the home county (pictured)
The researchers then decoded these dances and traced where the bees were.
They harvested data on sugar concentration from the bait, by collecting 10 returning bees at each hive visit and inducing regurgitation of the collected nectar.
This allowed the researchers to test their assumption that long journeys reflected a lack of available forage, rather than the existence of distant but high-quality resources.
Professor Leadbeater said, “In this study, we removed the barriers of assessing flower resources to tell the bees themselves where to find food.”
‘Calculation of bait distances indicated by wagal dances provides a real-time picture of current bait availability, from the bees’ own perspective.’
However, as the research focused on bees, which are domesticated and not endangered, experts cautioned that their findings would not apply to all bee species, many of which are in decline.
Professor Leadbeater said, ‘While we can potentially extrapolate our results to some wild bees, such as the generalist bumblebee species, our results should not be used to indicate that this pattern is common to all bee species. will be taken.
‘For many solitary bees, the existence of specialist host plant species or nesting sites will be important in determining whether cities are valuable habitats.’
The study is published in the British Ecological Society Journal of Applied Ecology.
Do the Waggle Dance: The Interesting Behavior of Bees
Bees in a colony work with each other to gather food – they use a simple and attractive method of communication to obtain it.
When a bee finds a good flower patch, it moves back from its colony to the hive to recruit other bees to the patch.
To tell those bees where to find the best flowers, the bees communicate the location of flowers using special dances inside the hive.
Bees dance staggeringly while other bees look to find a specific direction…